One-man play traces life of James Baldwin

“James Baldwin: Down from the Mountaintop,” a new one-man play written and performed by Tony Award nominee Calvin Levels, will be staged Saturday, Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. in Bowker Auditorium.

The play traces the fervent life of this American writer recognized for his novels on sexual and personal identity, along with plays and sharp essays on civil rights. Baldwin makes his way back to earth from the ethereal realm by embodying an actor who is doing a one-man play about his life. Intent on setting the record straight, Baldwin recounts various topics about his life. They include his early childhood growing up in Harlem as a prodigious reader and fiery young minister; his first sexual experiences and love affairs; his relationship with his idol Richard Wright; leaving America and moving to Paris; publishing his works, including “Go Tell It on the Mountain” and “Giovanni’s Room”; friendships and rivalries with the likes of Marlon Brando, Lorraine Hansberry, Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, Langston Hughes; his sour relationship with the Actors Studio; his association with Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and the civil rights movement; up until his death at his home in the south of France.

Tickets are $10 general public, $7.50 for Five College students, and $5 for UMass students and are on sale through the Fine Arts Center Box Office (545-2511).

The event is sponsored by the Stonewall Center, the departments of Afro-American Studies, English, History and Theater, the Social Thought and Political Economy program, campus cultural centers, Office of ALANA Affairs, Pride Alliance, Everywoman’s Center’s Women of Color Leadership Program, the James Baldwin Scholars at Hampshire College, and WFCR.